Major League Baseball is back! Originally scheduled to start in March, Covid-19 put the sport on hold for nearly four months, but the shortened 2020 regular season is now here and we see who’ll make the playoffs and, ultimately, win the World Series. While games being played without fans is undoubtedly jarring, fortunately it’s never been easier to catch all the action online. Here’s how to watch MLB online and live stream baseball from anywhere in the world this summer.
MLB 2020 cheat sheet
The shortened 2020 MLB season takes place from Thursday, July 23 to Sunday, September 27. Each team will complete a 60 game schedule comprised of 40 divisional matchups and 20 regional interleague fixtures – AL East vs NL East and so on. The usual playoff format will follow the regular season in October, culminating in the World Series.
In 2019, the Washington Nationals won the World Series for the first time in the team’s history, defeating the Houston Astros in game seven of an epic series. This year, Yankees and slugger Aaron Judge enter as favorites to advance to the World Series from the AL, while the Dodgers and newly acquired superstar Mookie Betts are being tipped to represent the NL.
There are a number of rule changes in place for the 2020 MLB regular season due to its shortened nature, but the three you really need to know about are:
- The designated hitter (DH) position has been added to National League batting orders
- Games that go to extra innings will see teams start with a runner on second base
- Relief pitchers are required to face a minimum of three batters
There are also plenty of coronavirus health and safety protocols in place, including regular mandatory player temperature checks, a ban on spitting, and a special Covid-19 inactive list.
Some things regrettably aren’t changing for the 2020 MLB season – specifically local blackouts. But there are a number of simple, legal ways you can get round this annoying league practice – which we’ll explain shortly. Now that you know roughly what professional baseball will look like this year, how about some details of how to watch it online? Follow our guide as we explain how to get an MLB live stream from anywhere in the world right now.
How to watch MLB blackout games and more with a VPN
Whether the season runs to 60 or 162 games, a VPN – or Virtual Private Network in full – is an essential bit of kit for baseball fans for two reasons.
Firstly, MLB blackout rules mean that you can’t use its otherwise comprehensive MLB.TV streaming service to watch teams within your own market – fine for Yankees fans living in Seattle, not so great for those in the Bronx.
It’s a real pain for cord-cutters, but fortunately, the VPNs help you get around this by allowing you to relocate your IP address to a different location. This means you can still be sitting in your NYC apartment, but your computer will be rerouted to a server in a different part of the country – thereby allowing you to watch the Yankees (or Mets) just like you would if you had a fancy cable package.
Secondly, VPNs are great if you’re abroad and want to access the same streaming services you do at home. Some of our favorite platforms like Sling TV are geo-restricted to the US, so if you’re out of the country on holiday or vacation, you won’t necessarily be able to access the services and content you pay for back home.
Again, a VPN is your friend here as it will let you dial back in to a US location and therefore access the same MLB live stream you would in America. But which one to choose?
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How to watch a MLB live stream in the US
Baseball coverage in the US is something of a minefield and varies dramatically across the country, but we’ll do our best to break it down as simply as possible.
How to live stream MLB
The best end-to-end live streaming option for the 2020 MLB season is still MLB.TV (free 3-day trial offered). Due to the shortened nature of the season, its price has been slashed to just $59.99 for access to every team’s games, or $49.99 to follow a single team. A subscription covers the entire regular season, plus the playoffs and World Series.
As we’ve said, it’s primarily designed for fans outside of their home team’s city, as it’s hampered by local blackout restrictions – but you can get around this by going the VPN route, per our guide above, and pointing your computer to an out-of-market location.
When it does work, it’s great, as you not only get a live stream of your game of choice, but also the option of home or away team commentary, Spanish language audio, companion apps for nearly any modern device, and a super-smooth 60fps feed.
How to watch MLB on local TV
Regional TV networks are baseball fans’ bread and butter, bringing you day-in, day-out coverage of all your local team’s games. Examples include YES Network (Yankees), NESN (Red Sox) and Spectrum SportsNet (Dodgers).
They’ll typically have a streaming option built-in to their website, which you’ll be able to access by signing in with details of your TV provider.
If you don’t have cable, then nearly all MLB teams (24 out of 30) also have their local TV channel covered by an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service.
More details are below, and a quick internet search should tell you which ones covers your local network.
How to watch MLB without cable
Select MLB games are shown on cable TV networks – namely TBS, Fox Sports, ESPN and MLB Network.
These are typically prime-time affairs and it’s easy to access these channels if you don’t have cable (or want to pay for an upgrade).
There are plenty of options, but we’ve listed the most popular below – roughly in order of how appealing they are to us as baseball fans. All prices are per month.
- Sling TV $55 – All the cable channels a baseball fan needs to watch the biggest games in one place. A combined Sling Blue and Orange package for $45 covers ESPN, TBS and Fox Sports, while $10 adds Sports Extra and MLB Network (plus NHL Network, NBA TV, beIN Sports, ESPN U, Tennis Channel and more). On balance, our favorite option and you can try a FREE Sling TV trial – but note local coverage is limited.
- YouTube TV $64.99 – The best option after Sling, YouTube TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. Many local networks and regional networks are also covered, six accounts are included in the price, and a free trial is available.
- Hulu $54.99 – A good option, Hulu with Live TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS but does not come with the MLB Network. It does, however, offer local networks in select markets. Free trial offered.
- AT&T TV Now $55 – Another solid offering, AT&T TV Now gets you ESPN, Fox Sports and TBS but, again, not MLB Nework. Local TV coverage is available in select markets. Free trial offered.
- fuboTV $54.99 – Not necessarily worth considering for baseball fans, Unfortunately it does not have ESPN, MLB Network or TBS – though it does offer strong local coverage and offer a free trial.
MLB live stream: how to watch baseball online in the UK
BT Sport has the rights to MLB action in the UK through 2021 and you’ll find all the channels you need available through one of BT’s many TV bundles, or as an add-on for Sky TV and Virgin Media customers.
For cord cutters, BT now offers the option of watching BT Sport without locking yourself into a lengthy contract by way of its £25 Monthly Pass.
And if BT Sport’s monthly prices are still too high for you, remember that MLB.TV is also available in the UK, where it costs approximately £50 a month for the full works and blackout rules obviously don’t apply.
How to watch MLB: live stream baseball in Canada
If you’re looking to watch the Toronto Blue Jays or even your favorite US baseball team, there are a number of ways to watch MLB in Canada.
Baseball fans with a cable subscription will be able to watch games on Sportsnet, TVA Sports, TSN and RDS. These channels will let you watch games online, too – either by registering with details of your pay TV provider, or by signing up for a standalone streaming package.
For instance, Sportsnet is the official coverage provider for the Blue Jays and its Sportsnet Now service is perfect for cord-cutting fans in Canada, costing just $24.99 a month.
The other great option is again MLB.TV, which is available in Canada, with only the Blue Jays subject to blackouts.